Spiders and Sparring in Clarkesworld Issue 79

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Clarkesworld Magazine – Issue 79 cover - click to view full sizeArachnophobes beware: this month’s Clarkesworld, Issue 79, has spiders. Not the big scary Moche-type that demand human sacrifices in order to be appeased. Well, not exactly. In Kali Wallace’s “No Portraits on the Sky,” Rela’s spider colony does her bidding even when she tells them to heal a man who has fallen through the treetops into her world. “No Portraits on the Sky” is a sublime work of original fiction that almost makes me want my own spider companions to nip and click at the back of my neck (without killing me!)

Post-apocalyptic garden gnomes also lurk in this month’s Clarkesworld. Emily C. Skaftun’s “Melt With You” is dominated by the vicious critters. The apocalypse has happened. Any inanimate object with a face now contains the soul of someone who used to be human. Our hero in the story is a pink plastic lawn flamingo. As to the garden gnomes, “They were united by their psychotic belief in the true Christian apocalypse, the crusade they’d undertaken to kill everyone on Earth to bring it about.” A bloodless battle ensues, killing many. Garden gnomes are terrifying. They deserve their own sub-genre. That’s the only way to appease them.

Kij Johnson’s “Spar (Making Bacon Version)” is another standout. The original version (“Spar”) was a 2009 Nebula Award Winner. Johnson wrote an alternate version for Baconthology: The Sweet and Savory Science Fiction Anthology. Clarkesworld reproduces the bacon version in the new issue. I recommend reading the original first, if you haven’t done so already, before taking in the awesomeness that is the bacon version.

The World Science Fiction Association nominated Clarkesworld five times for the 2013 Hugo Awards. In Issue 79, editor Neil Clarke answers the question “How Did This Happen” a non-fiction piece that explains his interest since childhood in science fiction and the role Readercon (coming up this year July 11-14) played in his life. Published monthly since October 1, 2006, Clarkesworld is available for purchase here on Weightless.

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